The second casualty of the war in Vietnam is the principle of self-determination. By entering a war that is little more than a domestic civil war, America has ended up supporting a new form of colonialism covered up by certain niceties of complexity. Whether we realize it or not our participation in the war in Vietnam is an ominous expression of our lack of sympathy for the oppressed, our paranoid anti-Communism, our failure to feel the ache and anguish of the Have Nots. It reveals our willingness to continue participating in neo-colonialist adventures.
A brief look at the back ground and history of this war reveals with brutal clarity the ugliness of our policy. The Vietnamese people proclaimed their own independence in 1945 after a combined French and Japanese occupation, and before the Communist revolution in China. They were led by the now well known Ho Chi Minh. Even though they quoted the American Declaration of Independence in their own document of freedom, we refused to recognize them. Instead, we decided to support France in its reconquest of her former colony. With that tragic decision we rejected a revolutionary government seeking self-determination, and a government that had been established not by China, for whom the Vietnamese have no great love, but by clearly indigenous forces that included some Communists.
For nine years following 1945 we denied the people of Vietnam the right to independence. For nine years we financially supported the French in their abortive effort to re-colonize Vietnam. Before the end of the war we were meeting 80% of the French war costs. Even before the French were defeated at Dien Bien Phu, they began to despair of their reckless action, but we did not. We encouraged them with our huge financial and military supplies to continue the war even after they had lost the will.
When a negotiated settlement of the war was reached in 1954, through the Geneva Accord, it was done against our will. After doing all that we could to sabotage the planning for the Geneva Accord, we finally refused to sign it.
Soon after this we helped install Ngo Dhim Diem. We supported him in his betrayal of the Geneva Accord and his refusal to have the promised 1956 elections. We watched with approval as he engaged in ruthless and bloody persecution of all opposition forces. When Diem's infamous actions finally led to the formation of The National Liberation Front, the American public was duped into believing that the civil rebellion was being waged by puppets from Hanoi. As Douglas Pike wrote: "In horror, Americans helplessly watched Diem tear apart the fabric of Vietnamese society more effectively than the Communists had ever been able to do it. It was the most efficient act of his entire career."
Since Diem's death we have actively supported military dictatorships all in the name of fighting for freedom. When it became evident that these regimes could not defeat the Vietcong, we began to steadily increase our forces, calling them 'military advisors' rather than fighting soldiers.
Today we are fighting an all-out war, undeclared by Congress. We have well over 500,000 American servicemen fighting in that benighted and unhappy country. American planes based in other countries are bombing the territory of their neighbor.
The greatest irony and tragedy of all is that our nation, which initiated so much of the revolutionary spirit of the modern world, is now cast in the mold of being an arch anti-revolutionary. We are engaged in a war that seeks to turn the clock of history back and perpetuate white colonialism.